By Jeannine Finton, SAME STEM Coordinator, Guest Contributor
Commemorated annually for the past 71 years, Engineers Week (February 20-26, 2022) is a time to celebrate the engineering profession and motivate students to pursue engineering careers to ensure a diverse and well-educated future workforce. SAME has long recognized how a robust pipeline of talented and dedicated students able to tackle the future engineering challenges of the nation was critical to ensuring our national security, most recently setting it as one of the main goals of our 2025 SAME Strategic Plan. Across the country this Engineers Week and throughout the year, SAME, through its Posts, Regions, and National programs, is making an impact on the next generation of engineers.
Posts participate in a variety of different celebrations around the Engineers Week theme. Partnerships with other engineering societies is the name of the game, maximizing the exposure and impact delivered by their efforts.
The New York City, Panama City, and Tampa Bay Posts work in conjunction with other engineering societies like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Florida Engineering Society, and more to put on Engineers Week banquets. In addition to dinner and a keynote speaker, the event in Tampa features awards for local STEM teachers, college engineering students, and Young Professionals.
In San Antonio, Engineers Week kicks off with the Engineers Week Proclamation Breakfast and ends with the Engineer of the Year Banquet. At the Proclamation Breakfast, the San Antonio Post sponsors a table filled with members of their Student Chapters. Other events through the week include a golf tournament and family 5K Nerd run with proceeds going to a scholarship fund.
Engineers Week is also a time to encourage K-12 students to consider engineering as a career. The Capital District Post works as a team with ASCE, IEEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and others to plan an array of competitions including MATHCOUNTS, Future Cities, and a Bridge Contest.
The Guam Post supports numerous events on the island during Engineers Week, including the signing of a proclamation by the Governor of Guam celebrating engineers, architects, and land surveyors. Other events supported by the Post during the week include around 40 presentations on engineering given to local public and private schools that reach approximately 1,000 students.
“The A/E/C industry will need to recognize the needs of each generation and adapt if we want our nation to maintain a strong STEM presence worldwide.”
– Liza Grudin, P.E., Chair of the SAME K-12 STEM Outreach Community of Interest
The Thursday of Engineers Week (February 24 this year) is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, also known as Girl Day. The Orange County Post partners with the American Association of University Women to support their STEM Conference for middle school girls. Held in Long Beach, Calif., since 2003, the conference brings together women with careers in STEM to present workshops to girls from Title 1 schools to expose them to the possibilities of careers in engineering and encourage them to attend college. The girls participate in hands-on workshops to learn about careers such as architect, astrophysicist, coroner, environmental engineer, mechanical engineer, optometrist, pathologist, software engineer, speech-language pathologist, or structural engineer. Over the past 17 years, 2,691 girls have participated in the program. This year, the Long Beach Unified School District has approved field trips to be conducted again, renewing the opportunity to introduce a new batch of young girls to STEM careers.
“Attending the SAME/Marine Corps Engineering & Construction Camp has been one of the most life-changing and interesting experiences I have gone through. Every day, there were so many new and exciting feats to accomplish and concepts to learn.”
– Gabriel Goudie, 2021 Engineering & Construction Camp Participant
Another collaborative effort SAME has been supporting for almost 20 years is the annual STEM Engineering & Construction Camps. These five weeklong in-residence Engineering & Construction Camps for high school students provide students with first-hand experiences in STEM. Each Camp features a unique curriculum with hands-on activities conducted in a competitive environment that promotes teamwork, leadership, project management, and problem solving. Last year, 92 campers attended the in-person camps, while another 55 attended the virtual camp.
Collaboration is again key to making these Camps a success year after year. Campers are supervised by mentors made up of professional engineers, engineering students, military personnel, educators, and other STEM professionals. These mentors are committed to inspiring campers to pursue STEM in college. Mentors are also resources for the campers, providing long-term connections for alumni.
In addition to the five National camps, SAME Posts across the world support numerous one-day to multi-day camps, extending the reach of the Society to more students. This community is open to any SAME member, strategic partner, sustaining member, or donor interested in ensuring SAME continues to provide such in-person experiences.
SUPPORTING OUR FUTURE
Founded in 2016, the SAME Foundation is another way in which SAME supports the development of the next generation of engineering professionals. Driven by its compelling purpose to foster engineering leadership for the nation, the SAME Foundation strengthens and expands the philanthropic efforts of the Society. By leveraging the charitable capacity of our Society and of engineering and related professions, the SAME Foundation invests in programs that provide Society members, America’s youth, veterans, and others within the engineering community unmatched opportunities to develop and grow personally and professionally.
Along with providing partial financial support for the National Camps program, the SAME Foundation also supports a scholarship program for Engineering & Construction Camp alumni. This program, aimed at previous campers preparing to enter college and major in engineering, architecture, or an engineering-related field, is just one of the ways that the Foundation is meeting its goals to Improve K-12 STEM Outreach at the Post Level and Inspire High School and College Students to Pursue Engineering/STEM Careers.
“K-12 STEM, including the SAME Engineering & Construction Camps program, is indispensable to the Foundation’s mission of fostering engineering leadership.”
– Hal Rosen, F.SAME (Dist.), SAME Foundation President and Board Chair
Numerous scholarship programs exist at the local Post level as well. SAME has a long and distinguished history of making lasting impacts that strengthen our communities, empower America’s heroes, and inspire tomorrow’s innovators. In 2020, the Society awarded 749 scholarships, totaling $814,625, and donated $700,774 toward STEM outreach activities.
A strong, robust, and dedicated STEM workforce is critical for America’s economic future and security. Through these initiatives and programs, SAME is making an impact at the national and local levels on the next generation of engineering leaders for the nation. To learn more about our programs and get involved, please visit our K-12 STEM Outreach and College Outreach Communities of Interest, Find a Post near you, or Donate to the SAME Foundation.
Enriching the STEM Pipeline for the Nation
Goal 4 of the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan is to lead efforts to inspire, encourage, and enable youth to pursue STEM careers and help develop the technical capacity that our nation needs to remain globally competitive. SAME is meeting this goal through a number of initiatives and programs such as Post and National Engineering and Construction Camps, student mentoring, K-12 outreach, scholarships and sponsorships, and local and national organization partnerships.
STEM outreach is critical for America’s economic future and security. As SAME moves into its second century, we will continue to leverage our strategic positioning as one Society of vibrant Posts to make an impact at both the national and local levels. To learn more about our programs and get involved, please visit our K-12 STEM Outreach and College Outreach Communities of Interest, or Find a Post near you.